Explore the historic 18th century Avondale House that celebrates the heritage of the Parnell family near Rathdrum in County Wicklow. Take a step back in time, where local guides will share intriguing stories of the history of the Avondale estate on a guided tour of Avondale House.
Samuel Hayes inherited the Avondale estate from his father in the late 1700s and is centrally important to the story of Avondale because he was so deeply interested in forestry. He planted over 8,000 trees from all over the world in Avondale, which would eventually mature into an impressive forest, with some of those trees still thriving today.
When Charles Stewart Parnell inherited Avondale, and all its debt, he began developing the sawmills, and added quarrying and mining to his timber interests. Having to manage the financial difficulties of the estate shaped the way he thought about landowners and tenants in Ireland. He saw that the system needed to change and during his later political career he focused on fighting for land reform and Irish self government.
The Great Tree Experiment began in Avondale in 1905. The idea was to see which trees would grow well in Ireland and would then be used to plant the new forests of Ireland. Generations of Irish foresters trained at Avondale and the experimental plots they planted still inform how we manage and care for trees today.
Visitors can either prebook tickets on the website or purchase tickets on the day at the visitor centre, subject to availability. The guided tour is suitable for children aged eight years and up.
Entry to the Seed Café, Walled Garden and Coillte Pavilion in Avondale is free of charge.